Montecampano - Amelia in Umbria

Positioned on a prominent hill overlooking the valleys below crossed by the Nera river to the south-east and the Tiber to the south-west, the place has been known since ancient times as “Mons Campanus”. Its exceptional strategic position, which allowed control of the surrounding valleys and the nearby Via Amerina, aroused the interest of Amelia, who acquired it in 1354. In 1412, the castle suffered devastation by Braccio da Montone (Perugia 1368 – L’Aquila 1424), at the time commander of the papal troops, who later became lord of Perugia. Over the following years, Montecampano followed the events of Fornole, which suffered several attacks by papal troops. As late as 1434, Niccolò Piccinino, rival of Francesco Sforza, then lord of Amelia, ordered the burning of Montecampano.

During the sixteenth century, the castle was once again the object of destructive incursions by the Vitelli and Orsini families, as well as by the army of nearby Orte, which took advantage of every opportunity to steal territories from Amelia and include them in its sphere of influence. Subsequently, the castle was owned for a long time by the noble family of the Cansacchi Counts, holders of various landholdings and properties, including two precious palaces of great architectural value located in the center of Amelia (Palazzo Cansacchi della Valle Superiore in the “Platea” district and Palazzo Cansacchi in the “Posterola” district, built next to the Santa Maria dei Laici Hospital). Of its original castle layout, some sections of the walls and some beautiful towers remain. The interior is characterized by via Cansacchi, lined with fascinating buildings and an ancient public clock located on an overpass that connects two buildings facing opposite sides of the street. The parish church of San Pietro in Vincoli has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and no longer has its original medieval appearance.

From the hill on which the town stands, you can admire breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, with large woods and cultivated lands, and you can see solitary ruined parish churches and ancient farmhouses. These homes were in the past owned by noble Amerine families, including the Venturelli, Racani, Boccarini, Catenacci and the Farrattini. The latter were owners of a manor estate, where archaeological discoveries were made which led to the hypothesis of the presence of a patrician villa from the Roman era. In this area, located on the left bank of the Tiber river and which extends towards the municipalities neighboring Amelia, such as Giove, Penna in Teverina and Lugnano in Teverina, it is presumed that numerous rustic villas were located. The excavations conducted at Poggio Gramignano (Lugnano) between 1988 and 1992 brought to light the remains of a vast villa from the 1st century BC, an exceptional find which takes on even more importance given that in the 5th century AD. the villa was used as a cemetery area for the burials of numerous children who died following an epidemic, probably malaria. For this reason, the villa is also known as the “Children’s Necropolis of Lugnano”.